As many notable college programs switch conferences, Notre Dame remains the largest domino out there yet to make a decision. There has been speculation that the independent school could align with the Big Ten or SEC. However, the Fighting Irish could stay independent if they receive a suitable broadcast deal.
According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, Notre Dame won’t join a conference if it can make at least $75 million in a new media rights deal with NBC.
That number is significantly higher than the $15 million a year on average the Irish received in its current deal.
Their current contract expires in 2025.
“Notre Dame would remain independent if it can earn at least $75 million annually in media rights revenue from current broadcast partner NBC, sources told CBS Sports. The Fighting Irish’s deal with the network is set to expire in 2025. For NBC to feel comfortable raising Notre Dame’s valuation to such a level, it is seeking “shoulder programming” from a Power Five conference to enhance its college football coverage.
When such a move had been speculated previously, the Big Ten was the conference mentioned most often as a target. However, the Big 12 has emerged as a strong option to fill NBC’s shoulder programming needs.”
Shoulder programming is pre-event and post-event broadcast programming that is coupled with live sporting events. According to the report, the Big 12 has emerged as a strong option to fill NBC’s shoulder programming needs.
New LSU coach and former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was asked about Notre Dame’s future.
“I would say certainly Notre Dame still is a coveted university in terms of what conference would want them,” Kelly said. “Jack Swarbrick knows what he’s doing. He’s got his ear to the ground. They’re going to land into a good position no matter what they do, whether they stay independent or whether they go into one of the other conferences.
“Notre Dame can carry itself pretty good.”